Attached is a picture of my racially charged americano.
In Costa, the barista asks me if I want my americano black or white. I hesitate - "black please". Zidane asks why I didn't say "white". I explain white means milk, and I don't feel like milk today. Zidane replies "So you want black? Like you? Look, I'm not involved in this racism business"
Attached is a picture of my racially charged americano.
Zidane and my OH (other half) had the following hilarious conversation earlier
OH: Zidane come and help me put away these plates…
Zidane: I can't I have autism.
OH: Ok. You still need to put the plates away…
Zidane: I can't I've got ADHD too…
OH: It doesn't matter or stop you from putting plates away
Zidane: It does! Ask my Mum what else I've got…
OH: I know what you have…
OH: You have these plates to put away…
Zidane: Awww man!!! *starts putting away the plates*
How do you know when a child has an unseen special need? What are the warning signs? How do you tell if the screaming child on the supermarket floor is having a meltdown or is throwing a tantrum because they were denied a chocolate bar? How do you know if the child that swore beside you on the bus has Tourette's or has been raised badly? How do you know if the child in front of you can't keep still because of ADHD or if his parents never taught him how to behave in public??
You mind your business. You keep your mouth closed and you understand that whether the parent is caring for a child with special needs or one that is just plain acting up, they probably don't need your smart assed comment about what you would do if it were your child. If you feel the need to open you mouth in public and negatively comment within earshot of the parent on the behaviour of a child that isn't in your care, you show no more restraint than the child...who might have a special need.
Watching a particular episode of Ben and Holly, I ask Zidane if he remembers when he was younger and would repeat a phrase that 'Nanny Plum' said. He didn't remember so I though nothing more of it until he appears in front of me, tears running down his face and snot dripping from his nose
Zidane: Give me back my life!
Zidane: My life...you've stolen it and saved it all up in your brain...give it back - it's mine!
He's furious with me for my memories……..
The good, the bad and the octopus....
So...we have had an emotional week...
The good thing was that Zidane coped very well with his memories about his brother, he asked some questions and I think he sensed when it became a bit too much for me and stopped.
The bad thing is that I didn't cope so well and at some point during the tears and turmoil I promised Zidane (and you know he doesn't handle broken promises well) that we would buy, cook and eat octopus on Friday. (His obsession with fish has expanded)
Today is Friday and he remembers. I don't get how the kid that goes crazy if he spots one tiny green baby spinach leaf on his plate wants to eat octopus....
Has your child ever got upset about the most bizarre thing that you're not sure how to react? Zidane asked if he came out of an egg. I explained that he started off as an egg, but grew in my stomach as a human. He asked if he was in "the shell" when he was born. I explained that the doctor cut my belly open and took him out, but he wasn't in an eggshell. He burst into tears and for the next 30 mins I rubbed his back while he cried "Why can't you lay eggs?? Why do I have a mother that can't even lay an egg??" *sigh*
If it is accepted that children with disabilities need a lot of extra support (whether or not they actually receive it) , should it not be understood that those caring for children with disabilities need a lot of extra support too?
Raising a NT child is exhausting at the best of times, a child with disabilities multiplies this by about a million.
From pre-diagnosis to life afterwards, and the ongoing everyday battle to navigate our way through education systems, health systems and every day life, we are pushed way beyond the limits of the average person. Add other children and a job in to the mix and you have a life that would send even the strongest person over the edge.
We don't have unlimited reserves of physical energy or any extra mental capacity to cope with it all. We are just ordinary people doing an extra ordinary job.
I think there needs to be more practical and accessible support for those caring for disabled children. I don't suggest our needs are more important than our children's, but tired and stressed out parents aren't good for any child least of all those with special needs.
The raffle ticket.
We attended an event, and a lady starts handing out raffle tickets. She hands Zidane one and he asks what it's for. She says the prize is an iPod. Zidane doesn't cope well with negative feelings, so I'm a bit apprehensive and mad at myself for not spotting her before she got to Zidane. Surprisingly, he hands it back and says "No thank you. I never win things" Now I know it sounds sad, but it would have been easier to talk to him about it later than to tackle the concepts of possibility or luck in a crowded room, which he doesn't grasp well at all. The lady hands him back the ticket and says "Think positive! You WILL win!!"
So Zidane is holding onto his ticket for dear life and the lady starts to draw the winning tickets. Number 8 wins and an excited little girl skips with joy as she goes to claim her new iPod.
In the space of three minutes in his mind he has been lied to, felt disappointed, and now feels jealous. Children with autism take people at their word and take things literally. It's all too much and without the ability to communicate it all in words, he pours his drink all over the table, kicks over his chair and runs outside.
Outside, I crouch beside him and don't say anything. He whispers "but she said I would win.....she's a liar". I know that lady meant well and she didn't do a thing wrong but in that moment he was so confused and had so many bad feelings already going through his head, (and in our defence, the entire venue probably thought that he ran away and caused a fuss because he's spoilt and upset because he didn't win...) so in that moment I let Zidane be right, I held his hand we started walking and I agreed "Yea, she lied"...
I am a teacher. During my PGCE, the qualification that qualifies me to teach in the UK, guess how much training I received in recognising and teaching children with special needs?
One day. Well, I say a day, but it was my afternoon lecture, so 2 hours or so. I was then given an assignment where I had to get into a group with three other students pick a disability (didn't matter which) and present it back to the class, so that they could learn about it.
19% of children in the UK (18% in the US) have some kind of disability or learning difficulty.
So when I hear other parents of children with special needs complain that teachers don't know what they're doing, or grumble that their child's difficulty wasn't recognised sooner, I feel angry for the parent, yet sad for the teacher. Qualified doctors sometimes fail to recognise disabilities and difficulties in children, so teachers stand no chance.
If your child has a teacher that does understand their needs and is able to accommodate them - be grateful. If you don't, don't feel as though you are passing your place by providing information that can help them to better understand your child's needs and your child. A good teacher wants to be able to reach and teach every child in their classroom.
You might not have a teaching qualification, but nobody knows your child like you.